Thursday, 28 June 2012

My, what a singer

I was in Bath yesterday with the following result:

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Another superb day in Mill Dam Park

The weather gradually improved for our event, making pottery and putting plants, which started at 11 am and was meant to end at 4 pm but with lovely sunshine and a great activity we carried on till half past five.

As you will know the sun came out, lovely warm friendly people kept arriving and we all had a great time making pottery and chatting over a cup of tea.

 All the work in this park is paying off so that great people are coming for many reasons.

Somehow they find something special about our park so that they are coming from a wide area to spend some time with the place and the people that go to it. People quickly get talking to others and the children have a great time playing together.

 It seems that Sunday is the day when many people make an effort to be there from 10:30 am onwards. See you there maybe!

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Pottery project at the Ulverston Children's Centre

This is at Lund Terrace opposite Rascals, in this case every Monday afternoon.

Great fun had by all!

With lots of pottery now on the walls.

Sunday, 17 June 2012

What's happening in Greece

As humans and fellow Europeans, we will naturally be concerned about what happens to the 'ordinary' man in the street in Greece.

Here are some photos from Athens.

For an overview of what is happening in Greece at the moment see

the Guardian or

the Independent
(Why all the football - Is there something going on that I'm unaware of ?)

An interview with George Galloway

A comment on this in depth article in The Independent by

Sean Thomas 6 hours ago
A brilliant and refreshing interview into a great British maverick, we certainly need more politicians who are without fear of the whip and media.

I guess the advantage of the on-line press is that space is unlimited by the use of paper


We have some great people living here in Ulverston.

Congratulations to Milly and Alice Pyne who have been awarded British Empire medals for their services to charity see the Westmorland Gazette and Evening Mail articles

Friday, 15 June 2012

I heard first hand today

From the grass roots workers at Wax Lyrical, what a great firm and bosses they have at their thriving company at Lindal.

I talked to someone who had worked for the changing business for eighteen years and how Mike Armstead with his team of dedicated people had turned the ailing company Colony Candles round into what is now Wax Lyrical.

And people there certainly do - Wax lyrical about their company and what great treatment they receive from each other and the people at the top.

Photo Allan Wilson October 2010

Co-director Joanne Barber remembered me and gave us all we asked for in terms of wax, wicks and already formed candles that helped us make our lights in jars. I came away loaded up now looking forward to ways to use the lights we could now generate to and a bit of sparkle to what can sometimes be a grey frustrating world.

It felt good that even at this moment to pots for those lights had just been taken up to 1,000 deg C ready for there first use this next October and then beyond.

The case for and against wind power in the Lakes


Expensive source of energy. Although wind is free the pylons are not.
Eyesore. They are seen as an intrusion of large man made objects into a 'natural' environment which is widely used as a place to 'get away from it all'.
Dangerous to wildlife.


Inexpensive in the long term when fossil fuels become scarcer and expensive.
A British source of energy thus avoiding imports.
Intrusive eyesore is a matter of perception. Roads, stone walls could be seen as intrusive yet we accept them readily.
Our mountains get plenty of wind.
Wind Energy is 'clean' and helps reduce global warming which scientist warn us will lead to the end of humans living on earth for the most part.
The sound is acceptable and far quieter than that of a gale. At a quater of a mile can't be heard.
Though dangerous to a very small percentage of birds, there are far more dangerous predators and the don't pose a threat of reducing numbers overall.
Building pylons could lead to a thriving British industry. The more made the cheaper they become and help our steel industry survive.

By producing lots of wind energy, can't we earn some cash fo Cumbria?

If we're in favour of wind power, what justification do we have in building wind farms in the Shetlands where it would be a dominating presence over those that live and visit there besides building local could provide local jobs.

Exercise your opinion by visiting the Cumbria Web Site now and voting -       scroll down to the bottom.

Contact our local Cumbria County Councillors with our views

James Airey    -

Peter Hornby   -

Janet Willis      -


I read of 55,000 pupils skipping lessons without permission on a typical day.

I had three solutions when I taught.

First, I never punished pupils for being late but rather welcomed them when they did arrive with a big smile. I thought - Let's give them a reason for wanting to come to school and make them feel welcome.

Second, I made sure that my lessons where as much fun as possible. My pupils all loved a challenge with rewards of recognition when they achieved.

Third, I never punished for lack of homework but rather rewarded strongly every attempt for doing it. On a few occasions I found pupils getting so fully wrapped up in the topic that had been set that they spent a whole weekend  at it and produced a magnum opus on their return on Monday morning. They had discovered what learning for themselves was all about.

No wonder my form, which I had for five years on a trot, ended up streaks ahead of the rest with  them achieving 50% A-Cs when the rest of the school achieved 25%.

Positive encouragment works wonders.

It works for dogs.

It works for small kids

It works for teenagers.

It even works for adults.

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Some very positive people

After a spell of being in contact with some very negative people, it's wonderful to be back in touch with people that are so positive no matter what they are dealing with.

Some show their maturity by quickly putting misunderstandings behind them so that one moves forward into a much deeper relationship of being accepted as an ideosycratic human.

The value of casting ones net wide in mixing with a wide range of people is that one comes across several of these positive gems of humanity.

- and they're here in Ulverston !

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Throttling the voice of the press

In Greece, a heroic move to maintain the freedom of the press is about to take place with journalists coming together to publish a paper that has been put out of business by it's owners.

It started in 1970 as a cooperative and moves are underfoot to return it to this again.

It's a heroic struggle but a very important one.

Here we have a situation where the existing local paper, The Evening Mail, throttles opinion that it doesn't like by not publishing comment it disagrees with or even worse, maybe, is being paid not to support.

When ligitamate views aren't expressed, how do we know what the motivation is?

Comment over the article featuring Colin Pickthal's criticism of Sainsbury's proposal for a supermarket at the Beehive, Ulverston is decidedly onesided . Support for Colin Pickthal's views is not being published, giving the impression that nearly everyone is in favour of the supermarket bid.

An alternative voice needs to be found if we are to have a fair decisions on proposals like this.

Furthermore we in Ulverston no longer have a resident journalist but one sat in an office in Barrow who knows little of the town being ignorant of basic geography it when he phoned me to discuss the Stockbridge Lane Car Park issue.

Is it time to ditch the Evening Mail and start our own more balanced reporting of what is happening in Ulverston? I suggest that people with diverse views get together and start a local news blog - it's easy to do and could lead to a far healthier situation for those that live locally.

Medieval music ?

Is it true that 'bards' used to tour the country making music like this? 

Except that they could do it in tune.

They call it an embouchure with a clarinet . . what would the equivalent be here?

Sunday, 10 June 2012

BUGs in Mill Dam Park

It's Sunday and we did some weeding, digging over a new bed, as well as some hard swinging as high as we could on the swings.

We've agreed to come back at 3:30ish on Thursday to put in the hundred odd new bedding plants that we will be getting from David 's market stall then.

Park's looking good - great to see the children, parents - and the sun!

Hearts of Oak, Ulverston

I've just talked to Jennifer Snell who's at the centre of this enterprise. Well done Jennifer and her supporters.
Hearts of Oak,Ulverston, on her way to the Conwy River Festival - photo Brian Scott
People are gathering at The Ship Pub on Piel Island for 1:00 pm with a view to set sail at 2:00pm

The ship is reached by driving to Roa Island and taking the ferry that crosses on demand across to Piel Island.

Hearts of Oak is due to sail up Walney channel at 3 pm according to the papers.

This, the last boat to be built in Ulverston in 1912, is a traditional wooden carvel-built Morecambe Bay Prawner, 34 feet long, 10 feet 6 inches beam, gaff-rigged, with a full set of tan sails. She has been restored to ‘as built’ condition with no cabin but does have an engine.

HEARTS OF OAK’s well documented life began on June 8th, 1912 when she took to the water from Ainslie Pier a few hundred yards away from Canal Foot, Ulverston.  She was built by John Randall McLester who was then landlord of the Bay Horse pub.  As a young man he had been the final apprentice taken on by William White, the last ship-builder based on the Ulverston canal. The boat was built for Peter Butler, the Leven Sands Guide, and together the two men constructed the vessel using local materials and metalwork forged in the nearby ironworks.

Saturday, 9 June 2012

Maria shows us some true qualities of character

As did her opponent.

Sharapova  wins but both demonstrated true fighting spirit to the end.

Inspiring to watch. Qualities we all need in difficult times.

For me, to see the program last night on the 'cellist Rostropovich and now Sharapova, once again tennis champion in real life.

Can we see more people who demonstrate these qualities of character around us?

This ability to battle against the odds does not just happen overnight but is developed small block by small block over a lifetime.

I'm privilege and encouraged by seeing these qualities in a few of the people around me and it's tremendous.

Thank you to all the battlers.

Those that stand by and sneer - just go and run off down your miserable burrows where you will end up when Life gets a little harder for you.

This demonstration of real life qualities is a great antidote to the hype that is repeatedly being washed over us at present - Olympic Torch then Royal Celebrations and now Soccer Euro 2012.

In the background real misery of people being persecuted with unfair treatment by the priveleged moneyed groups of self interest.

If you're a fighter - take courage - and keep your pecker up - you are inspiring others by your example - an example we all benefit from.

Confined to my house

My body is fighting some kind of 'flu so I'm not pushing it too far.

So what lovely things can I do (snivel, snivel) ?

My brain is clicking along fine so:

1. Bone up on my chess so that I can give Peter Hanks a shock when we meet again at the Stan Laurel; after my winning three games in a row and one resounding victory that totally amazed me when I was all over him, he has now come back strong and is beating me again.
This cannot be allowed to continue, so while he's away playing in tournaments I'm preparing a surprise attack. He knows that I refuse to play any evening other than Tuesday evening when I play until midnight (and ply him with beer while I have coffee - I also enjoy a malt whisky which I just sniff and drink when we've finished playing). What he doesn't know is how much effort I put into my next ambush where I may innocently give away a small piece only to descend on him like fiends from hell - I love living dangerously and risk all - knowing that if he survives I'll be in mortal danger - I being my personification in the form of my king.

2. Write this blog. Youtube is getting me a bit of recognition - some surprise successes.

3. Practise my clarinet. I watched the program on The Famous 'cellist Rostropovich last night - what you can achieve with a musical instrument if you are really really good- meaning 'able to convey emotion effectively'.

4. Tell another story from my past using my web cam.

5. Plan ahead on my various people projects - aimed at bringing groups together to enjoy themselves working together.

6. Having a little dig at some of the issues here in Ulverston

7. Put together some of the filming I've done for another item on Youtube.

8. Oh Yes - the minute I feel up to it, to pop out of the house, on my next cheeky project of painting the town red with another poke at 'the establishment'.

Having said this I'll be in Mill Dam Park with friends tomorrow Sunday, arriving between 10:00 and 10:30 - there are a number of jobs to be done in readiness for our first consignment of Bedding Plants from David's Market Stall next Thursday - maybe see you there.

Friday, 8 June 2012

New thoughts on the supermarket issue

It's good to have fresh insights on this issue.

Apparently the argument that providing a supermarket here in Ulverston would save lots of people going to Barrow is a false one. Many go to Barrow because they work there or need to go there for other reasons.

So having one here is rather unnecessary except for the few who would alternatively travel there specially for their shop.

I notice that Sainsbury is being very underhand in its reporting.

They are quoted as saying:

“It was very clear from our recent public exhibition that many people would like more choice and competition and would welcome the opportunity to do their main food shopping in Ulverston, rather than travelling to other towns.”

What exactly does the phrase "many people" mean ? It could well be true but it could also mean that these people are in the vast minority.

When I visited their exhibition in the Lantern House, first they admited that very few people had been - two of us were the only visitors there for the last 90 minutes of their show.

During that time they made another misleading statement:

"We have had people saying that they would be quite happy to walk into town and shop in the town having parked in our store"

This could no doubt be true but it only requires two people to say this for it to be true.

I personally I can't believe many people would want to drag their shopping all the way back from town up Daltongate, can you?

For me the big issue is the one of having somewhere convenient and inexpensive to park.

No one appears to want to take on this issue and yes it's a hard nut to crack.

This is compounded by the problem presented by supermarkets that offer free car parking which then disuades people from using shopping in town.Yet the experience of shopping in Ulverston itself is by far a richer experience emotionally. This is the way that friendships are maintained and developed.

When you walk around the town centre you repeatedly see small groups of two and three chatting and catching up on each others news. Because a supermarket depends on attracting a large number of people then the chance of meeting your friends and having a chat is decimated. How often do you have a chat with other shoppers in a supermarket?

How often do people drop in for a coffee in a supermarket whereas in Ulverston many cafes thrive because they provide such a friendly environment. We have Poppies where you are almost bound to meet one of your friends and similarly : The Peace Cafe, The Rose and Crown, The Farmers, The Hot Mango, The Old Ulverston Tea Rooms with the plants stalls outside.

The great diversity of shops is the way people enoy the social interaction that this promotes and as far as prices are concerned this mix in fact leads to great savings  with the likes of Smith and Harrisons, Brocklebanks, The Cheap Shop on New Market Street all of which undercut larger stores and supermarkets.

What shopping in town does mean is that it takes more time. However there are many people who have this commodity in abundance and need people contact to keep them bouyant. Increasingly, sadly, people are out of work. I bet if you surveyed towns with or without supermarkets for levels of depression you'd find places like Ulverston would be far healthier and happier places. The thirst for the cheapest price is often a mistaken treasure both supermarkets and the internet rob us of people interaction and good friendships. All it needs for us to have remote learning and working more at home and we're moving towards not enjoying life because we are all cut of from each other socially.

I've just returned from talking to Ralph Spours who is a very reluctant listener. When you are aware of John Gray's philosophy you can understand why.

We are all basically selfish. So what's in it for Ralph?

He has a good business that is relatively untouched by the issue - there's a big market in selling property to people looking for ' the better life' in a town like Ulverston even more when times are difficult and there is unrest in the cities. He has a certain standing in the town with his close circle of mates at the Farmers Arms.

I was there to float the idea that the solution for Ulverston's Car Parks might not be through the councillors but rather for the business community to buy the right to run the Car Parks themselves and show that more money can be made with more enlightened businesslike charges which would then make money for themselves.

I got the typical reaction from some who is not used to new ideas: throwing up what he saw as an insurmountable problem - that of supervising the car parks. - You mean Ralph that you think that our car parks are supervised? I think local pressure would be far more effective a way of getting people to pay the charges. Isn't it time for us to take charge of running our car parks - after all don't we own the land in The Gill and Stockbridge Lane Car Parks anyway.

No I'm afraid Ralph is part of the Cap Doff brigade from the way Ulverston used to be run which illustrates that we're still thirty years behind the times.

So where does one look to find people who have the guts to take on a difficult problem that many shy away from. I must admit I don't have the simple answer which is rather depressing but calls upon me to find so fight from somewhere. But then depression is the order of the day when the drummed up hype for nothing in particular dissipates.

Does the example of towns like Wrexham work? They have set themselves the target of having their car parks 85% used and adjust the fees until they achieve this.

They have come to terms with the thought that car parks are designed to park cars and if they are not doing this something needs to change.

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

stabbed man dies in street

DETECTIVES are appealing for information after a man was allegedly stabbed to death in the street  on Monday.
The victim flagged down a police van containing three officers in Ulverston Road, near the junction of Forest Road, at about 5pm.
The man, who was aged in his 30s, was suffering from stab wounds. The officers gave first aid until the Ambulance Service and Air Ambulance arrived.
However, despite their best efforts, the man died at the scene.
Police are not revealing the identity of the victim until his next of kin has been informed.
A man has been arrested on suspicion of murder and remained in custody without charge at the time of going to press.

The incident caused traffic problems in the area as police carried out an extensive evidence finding operation. A spokesman  said: “We do regret any inconvenience caused, however, the primary concern was for that of the victim.
“The man had flagged down a passing police car and had obviously walked some distance, which all became part of what was a very large crime scene.
“We had to keep that area cordoned off for some time to allow for the maximum collection of forensic evidence.”

Since the incident on Monday, officers have carried out reassurance patrols in the area, as well as leaflet drops and a briefing to local people explaining the procedure police have had to go through.

Note: Ulverston Road is a relatively quiet road leading off a heavily used road that I know in Walthamstow North London.

Not somewhere I would have expected the above to happen when I lived there eight years ago.

Could this kind of thing happen in Furness in the next ten years?

Monday, 4 June 2012

Celebration on the Thames yesterday

Looked brilliant on Tele  but the reality was:

If you took the trouble to go and see it for yourself - it was a disaster:

You couldn't get anywhere near the waterfront without a magic wristband which were mainly for corporate 'members'.

I'm told that very disappointed and angry crowds were being turned back by the police and were only offered the opportunity to travel down to a nearby park and - watch it on a big screen - and that would cost you £20.

So much for the plebs enjoying their day with their monarch.

Is this what's wrong with our queen - she can only be accessed very very very very remotely.

Nothing like some of the European Royalty that can be seen in public riding their bikes or is that a myth?

At least Charles gets involved with some issues now and again gets us thinking and maybe disagreeing.

Sunday, 3 June 2012

Fame at last

A re-hash of our very successful event a fortnight ago when 50 people pitched in to continue to upgrade our little park.

Inspired by the music of The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain who packed the Coro last Friday to enjoy their musical skills along with their outrageous humour that will leave me chuckling for weeks ahead I love the one with the char ladies scarf and deadpan expression.

Look forward to their next visit and their new inventive concoctions. What a hoot! No wonder they've stayed together for 27 years. What talent. What a set of individuals. What an inspiration to practice my clarinet.

Meanwhile the park is experiencing a make over and will be bursting at the seams with new flowers ready for Ulverston in Bloom

Evewright's Walking Drawings in Cumbria

An image of horses on a beach in Cumbria is to go on display in London's Royal Academy.

Some lovely art work here at Evewright's Studio  - well worth a visit.

Watch the videos here!

Saturday, 2 June 2012

Is it just me ?

There seems to be a lot of hype and hypocrisy around.
 Olympic and Royalty hype.
 Royalty and London Property Market hypocrisy.
The hype is everywhere the hypocrisy less obvious and open to interpretation.
Is it me or is it real that the economic wish to make money has encouraged everything royal to the fore. Shops celebrate - with a view to boosting sales.

On the London Property scene the Government turns a blind eye as the European rich bring their cash to a 'safe haven'.
We seem to criticise the Greeks while at the same time welcoming their cash and this precipitating chaos back home. This I really believe has the knock on effect of raising house prices as those at the most expensive in London are snapped up by Europeans. This at a time when the poor desperately need their mortgages to be reduced.

 Even many of the rich are feeling very uncomfortable whilst the 'middle classes' are beginning at long last to revolt.
Could it be that the costs of the Olympics will be the large straw that breaks the camel's back so that the 'average' Briton cries
 "Enough is enough."
"Let's find an alternative to this pseudo democracy"
 Several of my friends are suggesting that we've lost our way with concerns about money whereas close relationships with other people are what really count.

 My experience this week with the need to shift tons of compost in a hurry illustrated the depth of feeling people can have for each other as the strive hard to do what they see as worth while and ignore the crazy world of our television sets and Facebook.
 Actually doing things - not just talking - with others gives far more satisfaction than many of the activities we spend our time on.

 I'm finding I'm becoming increasingly casual about the need for money as my priorities change in favour of people.
They for me provide real security.
Totally dependable, reliable committed friends.

We've touched 500 'unique visitors' again

With 57% who keep returning! Looking forward to the day when we replace some rather shaky papers. Note to Ulverstonians: We no longer have a reporter from either the Mail or Gazette in the town: both operate out of Barrow and Kendal repectively. No wonder our activities aren't reported well. The ones I talk to at the Mail don't even know the geography of the centre of the town. We need an alternative : a blog with lots of contributors to report the news that's worth knowing about.

Great evening with the Ukuleles

What a fantastic group of performers. Still full of fun even after 27 years. This for me is the top secret of being a good performer: Go out there in the Lime Light and enjoy yourself. For me it gives me a kick in the bum to get back here and practice my clarinet even more though the piano is coming on nicely. I find myself constantly asking "Do I really want to be here when I could be practicing?